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Washington Times Editorial: Undermining Sri Lanka

America takes the wrong side in anti-terror fight

Oct 28, 2009

Sri Lanka is joining Israel as a country facing a war crimes investigation for effectively fighting back against terrorism. America should support the Sri Lankan government or keep its nose out of Colombo's business.

Last week, Stephen Rapp, U.S. ambassador-at-large for war crimes issues, filed a report to Congress on incidents during the recent conflict in Sri Lanka that "may constitute violations of international humanitarian law or crimes against humanity." The report focuses in particular on January to May 2009 when, after 12 years of conflict, the Sri Lankan military surrounded and destroyed the major armed formations of the Tamil Tigers and killed the terrorist group's leaders.

The report chronicles allegations of war crimes by both Sri Lanka and the Tamil Tigers. Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, the Vermont Democrat whose subcommittee on the State Department and foreign operations requested the report, is calling for "a full and independent investigation" so those responsible can be "held accountable."

The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights joined in the call for an investigation of Sri Lanka's war, saying there are "too many questions" left unanswered. U.N. Human Rights Spokesman Rupert Colville drew a direct comparison to the Gaza Fact-Finding Mission overseen by South African Judge Richard Goldstone. Sri Lanka and Israel are both pursuing internal investigations and have rejected the idea of international involvement in the process.

The Rapp report is not comprehensive, more a list of allegations than a fully documented indictment. Most of the offenses listed are either directly attributable to the Tamil Tigers, such as forcibly recruiting children to fight for them, or the consequence of terrorist activities, such as Sri Lanka shelling hospitals being used by the Tigers as command posts.

The tone of moral equivalence in the Rapp and Goldstone reports is most objectionable. War is by its nature violent, complex and tragic. Rules exist to mitigate war's suffering but can never eliminate it. Terrorist groups like the Tamil Tigers, Hamas and al Qaeda do not consider themselves bound by the rules of war and violate them as a matter of doctrine by targeting noncombatants, using civilians as human shields, torturing and executing prisoners, and by using hospitals and religious sites as headquarters and sniper platforms.

Any war against such an enemy will impose a degree of tragedy on people who under other circumstances would be spared war's horrors. But this is part of the terrorist tool kit, and reports such as these play into their hands. By placing the terrorists' systematic offenses against human dignity on par with the unintentional or otherwise regrettable actions of the regime trying to defeat them, such reports level a moral playing field that by rights the terrorists have no right even to set foot on.

Mr. Leahy should control his zeal to pursue what he views as justice in Sri Lanka. Any objective comparison of Sri Lanka's war against the Tamil Tigers or Israel's offensive against Hamas to America's struggle against al Qaeda would cast the United States in the same light, and elevate our enemies to a status they do not deserve. It hands the enemies of freedom unearned victories even as they are being defeated. [courtesy: The Washington Times]


Very good editorial that completely grasped the essence of fighting terrorism. It is great that world slowly getting to know the true nature of Tamil Tigers and their supporting diaspora.

Posted by: SLFireBall | October 27, 2009 10:52 PM

Never forget the American economies dependence on its ARMS industry ! We are all getting carried away with Obama and what he stands for. We must realise that he now represents the American Economy and his actions will always be guided by what is best for his first priority. If he forgets that he will meet the same fate as Kennedy.

Posted by: Ravana | October 27, 2009 11:05 PM

America should support Sri Lanka for the action taken in wiping out the Terrorist LTTE. At the same time there have been a host of tyrannical actions and Human Rights abuses of ordinary people not living in the war torn areas and quite unconnected with the war. Some of these are killing of media personnel, abduction and wrongful imprisonment withour trial etc. Even with the completion of the war the Government continues to hold thousands of innocent Tamils, Women and Chidren in detention camps. Hence all such illegal activities cannot be justified under the war against terror. Also if US military and other nations have committed such attrocities they cannot be used to justify the actions of the Sri Lankan government against its own population.

Posted by: SriLankan | October 28, 2009 12:23 AM

Thank you Washington Times. Stephen Rapp attempts to elevate himself to the level of a UN Judge with little success. Sri Lanka had the right to protect its citizens from terrorism and carried out a successful military campaign to rescue Tamil civilians from the clutches of the terrorists. There are powerful, influential terrorist proxies in the West who now want Sri Lanka to face the ICC with ill founded allegations. The US itself does not subject its citizens to the jurisdiction of this Court. Sri Lanka should do the same.

Posted by: Ram2009 | October 28, 2009 05:12 AM

250,000 people – including children from the age of 1 to 15, young and old women, feeble old men – cannot be blamed if they ask the Editor of the lesser known Washington Times (opposed to the venerable Washington Post) what prescriptions he proposes to end their inhuman agony with and show them the freedom which their own Constitution guarantees them but has so far chosen deafening silence.

The paper suggests “Leahy should control his zeal to pursue what he views as justice in Sri Lanka” The editor, in his enthusiasm to score a point with the Palestinians against the Israeli’s, has found a poor analogy in the Tamil IDPs condemned for collective punishment behind razor-wire for over 5 months.

Or has this editor mistaken Sri Lankan for another theatre? His Embassy here, his President and the Secretary of State hold a different – and one might say more appreciation – of the enormous sufferings of these innocents. Or has the influence of costly Lobbyists in Washington, now resorted to by GoSL, zeroing home? The highly respected and wider read Washington Post has a totally different perception of the Tamil IDPs anguish.


Posted by: Ilaya Seran Senguttuvan | October 28, 2009 09:14 PM

Who cares what America thinks now...? They have no credibility with the rest of the world and now they are losing it with us. They are a Non Entity, they are a joke,... Their PHONEY MORALITY changes with every newly elected Head of State... A year ago they were supporting the same thing we did..the eradication of TERRORISM... We succeeded, they did not...

Now they have a WHINEY LIBERAL Government in power and they are turning on us under the duress of their LEFTY CRYBABY Base of supporters and the BITTER TAMIL DIASPORA who have managed to latch on to these Human Rights Crusaders and convinced them of their LIES and PROPAGANDA about a need for a UTOPIAN MONO-ETHNIC TAMIL STATE that masquerades its necessity behind a FICTITIOUS GENOCIDE.

The Military Battles have indeed ended, yet these SPINELESS JELLYFISH DEMOCRATS are still constipated on the issue of Human Rights abuses... Instead of helping rebuilding a country and promoting Stability around the globe...which is, afterall what OBAMA pays lip service to in all his -SUPER-STAR Speeches to his millions of yearning wide eyed HOPE DISCIPLES; instead, they try to create Instability by focusing on a microcosm of a Conflict that is quite frankly... NONE OF THEIR GOD DAMN BUSINESS. War means Human Rights, everyone knows this... most of all being AMERICA who's global Exploits for the Expansion of their Empire that has KILLED THE MOST CIVILIANS in the History of Modern Conflict...

The world sees America for what it is... they think they are fooling the rest of the world about them being the BEACON OF HOPE for the Planet, but there's a Reason the words "DEATH TO AMERICA" are thrown around so frequently and with such passion... Its merely the Karma of what AMERICA has given to those who yell it...

Posted by: Devinda Fernando | October 29, 2009 01:34 AM

Who owns this Washington Times?

Has it been taken over by the SL Govt ?

Posted by: M FERN | October 29, 2009 11:30 AM

I am glad that there are people in the West who can see the grain from chaff.Overseas agents of the LTTE managed to hood wink the Westerners for a quarter century, to portray a brutal Terrorist Outfit as a Liberation Front.Thanks to the determination and courage of the current President of Srilanka the true nature of the LTTE has been exposed.

Thinking people in the West are now seem to be getting the true picture of the situation,whilst the LTTE propagandists still work overtime to undermine the Government.using the War refugees.

Posted by: Ex Srilankan | October 29, 2009 07:05 PM

Washingtion Times is an unkown entity ...usual way of Srilankan DIPLOMACY to those agrees with them but to others who talls the truth foul mouth, shame full posters,and deportation,or denial of visas etc.

Posted by: glen.Eagle12 | October 31, 2009 09:50 AM

don't try 2 interfere with our work...

Posted by: Real Sri Lankan | November 14, 2009 08:40 AM

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